England’s Fox Hunting Debate Sparks Protests
Fox hunting has sparked quite the political debate in England, with protests happening throughout London to try and sway the minds of politicians. Prime Minister David Cameron is in discussions with his administration to loosen the ban on the sport through a vote.
Fox hunting, in which groups of hunters take a pack of hounds out to track down and kill foxes, is a centuries-old sport in England. It has been a divisive topic between hunters and animal rights activists. On one hand, people believe it to be a form of pest control and a rural pastime. But animal rights supporters say it is a cruel sport for the rich.
Though the vote has been tabled for now due to the protests and almost certain defeat of the bill, the issue itself is far from over. The proposed vote led to protests throughout the country, reopening the divide.
“The government has backed down,” said protester Brian May, the guitarist in rock band Queen. But, he cautioned, “we have not yet won the war. There’s no room for complacency.”
Other celebrities, including Ricky Gervais, Sadie Frost, and Paul McCartney echoed May’s statement. McCartney commented, “bringing back ‘cruel and unnecessary’ hunting would cost Cameron support.”
The Scottish National Party, which previously agreed to only vote on issues affecting Scotland, said that they would oppose the motion. They say Cameron and the British government is out of line and not aware enough of British opinion on this issue, and they wanted to “remind the government of how slender their majority is.”
England originally banned fox hunting in 2004, after hunters clashed with police in riots outside the Parliament. Hunting — which is more popular in countries in America, where 38 million hunt and fish — has been a subject of division in England for numerous proposals in the past decade. This particular decision, along with other votes scheduled this week, has been postponed until September at the earliest.